Cinchona View

One of the stops on the mini Jamaican Safari that Cecil Beharry took my cousin Alex and myself on was the Cinchona Gardens.  As captivating as the old Gardens itself was, the first thing, and the last thing, that we looked out upon was the view from the mountainside, down into the St Andrew parish.

Although I can try with every possible photographic tool at my disposal to convey to others the emotion that I felt standing there, I don’t think I can ever truly do it justice.

As we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted with a clean, cool mountain air that revived the senses and the spirit, after that long arduous drive, I’m sure that Cecil was the most grateful of us for that.

The view was breath-taking, the clouds and mists had claimed the tops of the mountains leaving just the valley for the viewer.  From the flowers dotting the edge of the road where the steep descent began, the valley spread out and rose and fell to the distant mountain peaks, from our vantage point, the mountain-sides that envelope and nestle the Cinchona Gardens framed the scene beautifully.

This is a view of an Island Paradise… from 5,200 feet up.

This is a Panoramic Photograph from thirteen images (each taken in portrait orientation) stitched together.  Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

Into the Mountains – Part 2

After lunch on my second day in Jamaica, we drove up to Cinchona Gardens, what was once a beautiful Botanical Gardens, a destination for families and tourists, an old Colonial house and out buildings, gardens and ponds, and bamboo copses.  The road up to it is impassable by regular cars, so Cecil’s Safari enthusiasm came out as he tackled the mountain with gusto.

Before even going towards the Cinchona Gardens proper, the view to the right of us as we drove up was very compelling, so I just had to take a few photos in the hope that one would help express what I saw,the tops of the range were obscured by low-hanging clouds:

The Gardens stand in a spot of the mountains that is five thousand two hundred feet above sea level (5200ft), and there is usually a constant “misting” from the clouds, so most everything is wet.  The first steps into the garden proper brings you to some tree stumps of tree cuttings, makes great seats for the weary 🙂

From an upper vantage point, you can see the seating area in the walled section of the garden with a small man-made pond, the sky had begun to clear a bit so that I could get more than just a blanket of gray clouds in the photos  🙂

Alexis stood for quite a while admiring the view of the valley below and the mountains in the distance, he even went as far as shouting out to hear the echo… which he got  🙂

The main building was cordoned off with a “Danger” tape,warning visitors not to go in, I was tempted to venture in, but Cecil wisely told me not to try it, so I satisfied myself with a few photos from the outside.

As the skies were clearing a bit, I took another set of photos of the view into the valley and across at the Blue Mountains, this time I could actually see the tops of the range in some areas.

From the Cinchona Gardens we were to make our way towards the Blue Mountain to visit Whitfield Hall, where people desirous of climbing the peak would start their trek, on the way there as we neared Hagley Gap, we stopped to take photos of and near an old bridge that appears to be out of use.

We stopped along the road to get a few photographs of a beautiful view down another valley, this was probably about 15 minutes outside of Whitfield Hall.

Whitfield Hall is an old House and Coffee farm, it is snuggled beneath some very very tall trees and is such a tranquil spot, we sat and ate the rest of our food before heading back home.

On the way back I couldn’t resist a passing shot of the hills/mountain showing the barbed demarcation of the end of the road, where the cliff drops down to the valley below.

Into the Mountains – Part 1

Veteran Guyana Safari expeditionist Cecil Beharry (CB to his friends), told me to just let him know when I’m in Jamaica, so I told him I was coming down for a family reunion, and he insisted that he take me into the mountains, how could I refuse?

The day after I arrived in Jamaica, he took me and my cousin Alexis (I’m told he is my First cousin Once Removed, although I prefer not to have him removed) on a mountain drive, some of these spots were apparently where he “practiced” for the Pakaraima Mountain Safari in Guyana.  He had just gotten back his vehicle from the last Safari, and we were going to give it another mountain drive  🙂

As it happened, we were on the road near Irish Town when we noticed some strange sounds coming from the vehicle, on stopping and checking (Alexis being a hobby mechanic and Cecil being Jamaica’s Power-steering specialist) it was discovered that there was a leak somewhere, Cecil called his son Craig to come exchange vehicles (a Trooper to the rescue)

I didn’t mind stopping / breaking down in that spot, I got a few photos, my two favourite are below:

With a new vehicle at our disposal (ok, we’ll apologise to Craig for the dents and scratches and the dirt…), we headed onto Newcastle where there was on old colonial army base that is now housed and maintained by member of the Jamaican Armed Forces (restoration work was being undertaken while we were visiting), I’ll share two photos from that location, one of the “barracks”,as I thought of them, and one of the cemetery, I must say that the view from the cemetery was very tranquil 🙂

On the way to Newcastle, we stopped to take in one of the breathtaking views of the hills/mountains, but I was also captivated by the walls along the road, they are apparently built to help retain the earth on the sides of the hills and prevent landslides, in these “walls” are holes which are meant for the drainage of water caught behind the walls, the holes are called Weeping Holes.

From Newcastle, we moved onto Holywell, where there is a camping ground, there were quite a number of youths there camping and playing.   The air is crisp and cool,and the views are pretty:

And if you want to just sit and enjoy the view, here’s the chair:

After Holywell, we went to visit an old abandoned Coffee Mill, from somewhere back in the colonial days.  Some of the building(s) is still intact, and the mill mechanism can still be seen there, what I was impressed to see was the waterwheel that drove the mill, I had never seen one before and I was excited about it, especially when Alexis tried to push it and it actually turned!

There was an archway in the rear wall to access the “Tennis Courts” and to see the building from the side with the water wheel.  I think that archway would make a pretty nice night-time photo  🙂

I realised that this post suddenly had a lot of images, so I decides to split it, so this is it for the first part, we actually left this building and went down to the stream/creek behind it to have our lunch; KFC, stale bread and liquid refreshment (in my case a bottle of Coconut Water)  🙂